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Reduced COVID-19 isolation for NSW healthcare staff a ‘catch-up’ measure to stop system ‘collapsing’


Close to 2,000 healthcare workers a day are off work due to COVID-19. (AAP: Bianca De Marchi) Tired and overworked healthcare workers in New South Wales were left with no choice but to support reducing the isolation rules for asymptomatic staff deemed close contacts of COVID-19 cases.

Under an exemption to the Public Health Order signed by Health Minister Brad Hazzard on Friday night, these staff can now be ordered back to work.

Australian Salaried Medical Officers Federation (ASMOF) NSW president Dr Tony Sara said hospitals were running out of staff and the pressure on the system was enormous.

In the latest reporting period, 901 people needed hospital care — a figure that has been creeping up in the past fortnight and is expected to soon hit 1,000.

“We’re loading our hospitals with COVID-positive patients who need to be in hospital,” Dr Sara said.

“We therefore had to reduce the ISO requirements, we don’t agree with it but essentially if the health system is not to collapse then ourselves, the nurses and the HSU [Health Service Union] — we don’t have a lot of choice but to agree.”We have to make sure we supply the required services to normal patients as well as COVID […]

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